The reason you should never correct a dog, I am told, is that it will make the dog "fearful" or "neurotic," or "environmentally weak".
And who are the people saying this? Why fearful, neurotic, and environmentally weak people!
Another group are dog trainers whose business plan is based on a dog trainer dependency model.
Ask them how to teach a dog to stop barking, or how to teach a dog not to jump or charge the door, and they have a 28-day program to sell you, or perhaps a $4,000 board and train package . At the end of that program, they will say "this is a cot for place, this is a leash and a slip collar, this is an e-collar, and this is a treat bag."
It reminds me of the alcohol treatment industry which charges $28,000 for a 30-day intake. As confused executives and failed reality show stars leave Hazelden, Betty Ford, or the Sedona Wellness Retreat, the last words they hear are: "Now you be sure you go to those AA meetings now".
Please, let us not confuse the high cost of a nicety for the very low cost of doing the same thing out of necessity.
You want to train the dog yourself? You can. You want to get sober and you have no health insurance? You can. In either case, all you need is the fire called desire and a willingness to listen and follow directions.
As for the notion that a dog will wilt from a correction, or a dog will become "environmentally weak" or "live in constant fear" from an aversive?
Please don't tell my dogs who walk off leash through parks chock-full of squirrels, deer, rabbits, birds, and other dogs. They look pretty happy.
A miracle? No, simple training with the very weak tap of a modern e-collar -- a tap so low I cannot feel it. The dogs need no taps at all now. Is that because they are cowed and cowering? Nope. And are they now ruined for hunting groundhog, fox, raccoon and possum? They are not.
And here's the thing: groundhogs, raccoons, fox, and possum occasionally bite and rip the muzzles of my dogs.
"How do you reward your dogs" for sliding underground and working so hard, one dog trainer asked me.
"I let them do it again," I replied.
The code explodes. This is self-rewarding behavior. It's FUN.
And so we learn that the mildest corrective that is well-timed and consistent can stop profoundly self-rewarding behavior like off-leash squirrel and deer chasing, but a much harder correction, poorly timed and inconsistent, has no impact on prey drive.
Is this news to pet folks with "personal philosophies"about dogs and dog training?
And yet this thing I know. I know it because I observe, and I am never willing to substitute philosophy or religion for reality and experience.
Neither are the dogs.
- Related Link: ** A True Dog Man is Always a Cynic